Omicron variant: CDC recommends COVID-19 booster for all adults amid latest threat

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its COVID-19 vaccine booster recommendations late Monday afternoon to include all adults, regardless of health status or occupation, as uncertainty surrounding the newly detected omicron variant swells.

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“The recent emergence of the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a prepared statement, noting early data on the emergent variant suggests increased transmissibility.

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The strengthened recommendation comes barely four days after the omicron variant was first detected in South Africa.

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“I strongly encourage the 47 million (U.S.) adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to vaccinate the children and teens in their families as well because strong immunity will likely prevent serious illness,” Walensky stated, encouraging anyone feeling ill to follow through by getting tested for COVID-19.

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“Increased testing will help us identify omicron quickly,” she added.

Specifically, the CDC is now urging all adults to seek COVID-19 boosters six months after the second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s or Moderna’s vaccine or two months after the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Previously, the CDC said people should get a booster if they are 50 and older, or 18 and older and living in a long-term care facility. Otherwise, it advised that anyone 18 and older may get a booster. Now the word “should” applies to everyone 18 and older, CNN reported.

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